RECOVERING ice addicts make up more than half of the clients of Colac’s leading drugs counsellor.
Colac Area Health’s senior alcohol and other drugs clinician Maude Berry said the hospital and its connected services were coping adequately with treatment of her addicted patients.
But Ms Berry has welcomed a promise of additional support for treating ice addicts through an initiative of Liberal by-election candidate Richard Riordan and the State Opposition.
“The thing is by the time they get to me, they’ve already lost their family and their job and their housing, and those things need to be addressed first before they can address their drug use,” she said.
“There’s a lot of issues that need to be dealt with by the community to assist the person to the level where they can make change.
“Anything that will assist people to manage any drug or alcohol abuse is of great use to the community… we need some stuff that supports families and the community to manage the reasons that people use drugs.”
Mr Riordan yesterday launched the Polwarth Ice Action Plan with eight different ideas to address the use of the drug in the electorate.
The plan includes a proposal to establish an Ice Community Action Taskforce within 50 days of the October 31 Polwarth by-election.
Mr Riordan’s team would also “immediately” send an ice information pack to Polwarth families with children aged 16 to 25 years.
“The best solution to working with the community on ice and other addictions is a whole-of-community approach,” Mr Riordan said.
“What I would like to do is facilitate our community in bringing the various people with expertise and skills that can work in that.”
State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy praised the “very positive” initiative and described it as “the first ice action plan across regional Victoria”.
“It is the first time someone has come up with an ice action plan from a political sphere and said ‘this is a way we can bring people together and solve this issue’,” Mr Guy said.
“I think it sends a very good message about those in public office making a real difference to bring people together.”